Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Educational Leadership


This study examined self-reported rates of binge drinking in the community (entering freshmen), during the transition period from high school to college (entering freshmen perception of college drinking), and on the campus (enrolled college student). Subgroups of gender, state of residence and parental congruence regarding knowledge and/or permission about entering freshmen consumption were also examined. The purpose of this study was to determine if students bring drinking behavior to campus or learn to drink after arriving on campus.

Interventions aimed at reducing binge drinking on college campuses have become the focus of national consideration. Attempts to moderate binge drinking of college students utilizing an individual-based approach have been unsuccessful. The social norms model has gained popularity as a strategy in reducing high-risk drinking norms in college students. However, evaluation of this model has varied evidence of reducing high-risk drinking norms.

This study surveyed a sample of freshmen involved in new student orientation sessions on each of the 11 campuses within the North Dakota University System. A standardized instrument, The Campus Survey of Alcohol and Drug Norms, was administered during the new student orientation programs prior to fall of 2004.

According to entering freshmen reports, the majority of students start their drinking before they enter college. Entering freshmen underestimate rates of college binge drinking. Males have higher binge drinking rates than females. Students in North Dakota and Minnesota look similar to the regional binge drinking rates identified in the literature. This study also looked at parental congruence for knowledge and/or permission to drink and found that consistent parental behavior regarding the message students receive about drinking (to drink or not to drink) appeared to moderate student consumption.

The findings suggest that binge drinking in North Dakota is normative; therefore, social norms may not be the appropriate prevention strategy. Recommendations include: 1) utilizing the already formed state infrastructure to apply a systemic approach toward the implementation of a statewide model for prevention; 2) utilizing existing data to apply strategies appropriate to state needs and collect data to evaluate outcome measures; and 3) allowing time for prevention implementation to generate results.